Kirsty Williams

Kirsty is a foster carer from Dudley who supports twins with autism and was nominated and won an award to take part in Wear it for Autism, an event hosted by a charity promoting the awareness of autism. Kirsty, 27, was nominated for the award because of the exceptional support she provides and the advocacy she has demonstrated on behalf of the autistic girl-boy twins she supports.

She said “I was nominated for the award by the previous foster carer of the twins I foster. They both have autism, in different ways. The little boy is non-verbal and the little girl has mild autism and anxiety. I was nominated because of the support I offer, I was thrilled to then win!”

Kirsty started her career as a nursery nurse, and teaching assistant. She has completed training in Makaton and PECS to support youngsters with communicational special needs and completed a degree in Inclusive Studies and Disabilities. She also gained the Early Years Teaching status.

Autism is a disorder that affects many children, each in a unique way. A diagnosis can happen as early as 2 or 3 depending on signs and symptoms. The condition usually affects communication, behaviour and social skills. Children with autism may not have the same spoken language skills as their peers, and demonstrate limits on the language they use. Communication in other forms such as PECS or Makaton signs and symbols are techniques often used to support children with communication disabilities.

Kirsty met the twins when they attended the Pre-school where she was Deputy Manager. Their foster carer at the time was an older foster carer and the decision was made to find a younger fostering family for the twins.

Kirsty said; “When I knew the twins needed to move, it encouraged me to think about becoming a foster carer. I have developed lots of skills to support children who have autism, just like them. My brother is also autistic, so I already had a lot of experience of autism through living with him. In the back of my mind, I hoped that when I was approved I could foster the twins, and I was delighted when we were matched.”

Kirsty and her partner Martin, 28, support the twins together and offer them the life opportunities, support and care they need.  The previous foster carer has stayed in touch and is great support on days out.

Kirsty added: “ Their previous foster carer, Claire, has a fantastic bond with the twins. She had them from 6 months old and she is a really important part of their lives, we regularly meet up an enjoy days out with the twins together”.

For various reasons Kirsty was unable to attend the charity’s London awards ceremony, but she was delighted that the children’s previous foster carer nominated her for the award.

“I am applying all the experience I have gained and going one step further to support children who need the help that I can offer. I’d like to thank ‘Anna Kennedy’, the charity that hosted the fashion show.”

Anna Kennedy is dedicated to promoting the inclusion and equality of children and adults with an autism spectrum condition throughout society. The charity promotes its mission of disability equality by developing and sponsoring training, by raising awareness of the challenges faced by people with disabilities and also by its advocacy efforts with and on behalf of people with an autism spectrum condition.

Foster carers can make a big difference to the lives of children with autism. With training, guidance, support and understanding of autism, foster carers can make a positive impact on the lives of the children they support with autism.

At Capstone we welcome anyone with specialist skills who is thinking of fostering. We also provide specialist training for foster carers who are interested in support children with special needs and challenging behaviours.

 


Members of our midlands fostering team including one of our foster carers did the Colour Run in Birmingham to raise money for charity.

Jacci, Hayley, Alison and foster carer Dave ran the 5k at the NEC, raising hundreds of pounds for various charities including the NSPCC and Peter Pan Nursery in Stoke-on-Trent which provides specialist care and support for children with special needs.

Despite her recent spinal surgery, Jacci, Head of Quality Assurance, managed to complete the race thanks to her training regime where she had to ‘learn’ how to run again.

Jacci said: “Neuropathy in my legs and feet means that I have to work hard and concentrate on lifting my feet properly. This was a goal for me”.

Alison, who supports foster carers from Stoke and across Staffordshire dressed up as Tinker Bell to run the face, which added to the fun! Running and training for the race has since inspired Alison to take up running and join a running club.

Hayley said; “I was really nervous about running the race, I had been meaning to train for the past 4 months but only went jogging once! Despite this the team were really supportive and the race was really relaxed.”

They all had loads of fun running the race and are hoping to do it again next year as it is a great way to get fit and a fantastic family challenge. If anyone wants to join in next time, please contact us on 0800 012 4004.

 

Capstone team at the Colour Run

Hayley, Jacci and Alison, ready to run the race


Introducing Demi

Demi is a 15 year old birth child of foster carers Natalie and Simon who have been foster carers for over 6 years. Demi has been very involved in the fostering experience and shared her perspective of fostering in a poem that she wrote for Capstone which you can read here. Demi talks about the process of fostering and how it affects the children of foster carers, which can sometimes be a missed perspective. Fostering has affected Demi in many ways and one of the benefits to Demi and her family is the compassion that it has installed in Demi.

World Challenge to Malawi

Demi would now like to reach out to children further afield and is going on a trip to Malawi in Summer 2016. Part of her expedition will include charity work where she will be digging a water well, as well as teaching children in an orphanage. To support Demi, Capstone have agreed to sponsor part of her trip and support her fundraising efforts.  You can follow Demi’s progress on her Facebook page.

If you would also like to sponsor Demi, you can click here to donate via her World Challenge fundraising page: Get Demi to Malawi.

Demi has said that any donation will help. Over 5000 people have seen her poem on Facebook and if each person had given 20p – she would have made a massive £1000, so every penny counts!

Demi’s Vlog

Demi has also started a video blog to share her experiences of a birth child in a fostering family and we will be posting these regularly on this page, and on social media too. In Demi’s first blog she talks about fostering and how her experience of supporting young people has shaped her response to the killing of Cecil the Lion. We think she makes some excellent points – and this is a great first video blog from Demi!


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